New Jersey’s $1 Billion Sports Betting September Frustrates New York Senator

Written By Mike Mazzeo on October 19, 2021
New York and New Jersey separated by the Hudson River

As New Jersey basked in the glow of its record-setting September for sports betting, all New York could do was watch with envy. In September, the NJ sports betting industry became the first in the US to handle more than $1 billion in a single month.

New York, meanwhile, is still working to get legal online sports betting up and running before Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022.

“Frustrating is just one of the words I used when I saw that,” Sen. Joe Addabbo told PlayNY about the report from Jersey. “And there’s another F-word or two there.”

“The bottom line is we know that roughly 25% of that is our money. And that would’ve done well for us financially–for educational funding, for jobs, for addiction recovery purposes. So that’s problematic. That’s troublesome. I get frustrated when I see numbers like that.”

The 57-year-old lawmaker from Queens has long been a key proponent of sports betting in New York.

“Kudos to (NJ) Governor Murphy,” he continued. “But I believe that because we’re New York and because of our fan base, we will have great potential to eclipse New Jersey in all facets–certainly in mobile sports betting, and maybe someday with iGaming as well.”

New York’s road to Super Bowl betting

The road to launch is currently in the hands of the New York State Gaming Commission (NYSGC).

The process remains on course for the NYSGC to select applicants for licenses before Dec. 6. In the meantime, the expected next step is for the commission to consider public comment on rules and regulations for online sports betting sometime in late October.

Industry experts, however, are pessimistic about NY’s chances of being ready for Super Bowl betting. March Madness, a month later, they say, might be more feasible.

“I’m still remaining aggressively optimistic that with the right effort put into this, we can make this happen before the Super Bowl, and frankly it would be in our best interest. We can’t miss out on that,” Addabbo said. “Sometime in the NFL playoffs, we could have the first bet. And certainly by the Super Bowl, we’re up and running.”

Addabbo said he’s currently keeping an eye on making sure the servers get up and running beforehand.

“You’ve got to have the providers and operators in line, but if the servers aren’t activated, that’s going to be a problem because that’s what accepts your bets,” Addabbo said. “So I just want to hope that we’re not only focusing on providers and operators and the actual product, but also that these servers have to be activated as well before the first bet.”

Addabbo has more plans for NY gambling

Addabbo reiterated that he wants to incorporate horse racing once online sports betting is up and running in New York.

The senator also wants to expedite downstate casino licenses, and eventually incorporate NY online poker and casino gambling.

Those conversations will resume during state budget meetings starting in January.

Lead photo: Saletomic | Dreamstime

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Mike Mazzeo

Mike Mazzeo is a contributing writer for PlayNY, reporting on legal sports betting in New York while covering the potential legalization of NY online casinos and poker. He previously wrote for ESPN, the New York Daily News and The Ringer, among others.

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